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JLeslie's avatar

Do you bring your own take-out box to restaurants?

Asked by JLeslie (59780points) March 10th, 2015 from iPhone

I just picked up a deconstructed gyro at a local fast good place and I remembered that last time I did it I wished I had brought my own glass container for them to fill up instead of them putting the food in styrofoam. I wonder if they would do it?

I like the green aspect, I like glass better than a petroleum product, and half the time I transfer leftovers or take-out to glass containers anyway for my husband to take to work for lunch.

Have you ever done it? Or, know someone who does?

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25 Answers

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I don’t eat takeaway food very often but if I do, I don’t normally take my own containers for them to fill up. I think health regulations might deter them from doing that. In case someone brings something that isn’t clean and they end up with food poisoning. Just a thought anyway.

The only time I’ve taken my own container is to get ice cream. A Spanish restaurant has opened next door to my favourite cinema. They sell really nice ice cream but they only had tiny containers without a reliable lid. Since I need to stick it in my bag, I don’t want ice cream through my handbag. So I took two small containers and spoons and asked them to put two scoops in each. They were fine with doing that and I didn’t end up with a sticky handbag or trying to eat ice cream with a bendy spoon.

jaytkay's avatar

I like the idea. Haven’t seen it but I like it.

About once a month I stop at Subway Sandwich on my way to work, when I don’t have time to make a lunch at home.

I can see asking Subway to use my container. I might try that. Definitely with any non-chain restaurant.

Maybe not McDonalds.

chyna's avatar

Would never dream of it.

janbb's avatar

I have considered taking one, not to fast food places, but to restaurants where I expect to take home a doggie bag. Like you @JLeslie I am concerned about the environmental impact of all that packaging. So far I haven’t had the nerve to do it (too “crazy old lady”) but i am thinking about it. A friend of mine who is very green doesn’t bring her own container but will ask for no straw and a piece of foil to wrap her leftovers in.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit I thought maybe it might be a health code problem if they are filling the box as a new order as you pointed out. I would guess at a sit down restaurant we could easily put our leftovers in a box. Thing is I doubt I would lug along my own container for leftovers. If I’m just picking up food to take out I am
More inclined to do it.

@janbb I had the crazy old lady thought too. LOL.

Kardamom's avatar

I do at sit down restaurants all the time. I also bring a cooler. When I get my meal, I divide it up into thirds or quarters depending upon how big the dish is. This is part of my new eating routine for about the last 6 months. In addition to a daily workout routine, I’ve cut my food consumption by two thirds, to three quarters. I’m still eating the same food, just less of it. I never needed to be eating as much as I did, but I just never really thought about it. Now I consciously think about it. The best part is, I don’t feel starved or deprived, and I get to eat more of that yummy dish 2 or 3 more times. Oh yeah, I’ve lost 25 pounds too : )

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

The ‘doggy bag’ thing isn’t the norm here but I wish it was. I don’t think I’ve ever asked to take leftovers home from a restaurant. I think your strategy makes a lot of sense @Kardamom. I like it!

janbb's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Are you served portions as huge as ours? I have literally taken leftovers home and had two or three more meals sometimes.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Generally, no @janbb. I think portion sizes are getting bigger in some places here. If you go to a fast food place, you can upsize and the meals can be huge. Chain type places seem to serve bigger portions too. I don’t tend to eat in those sorts of places though. I’ve not experienced receiving huge portions in fine dining restaurants.

When I was in New York, I found the meals served in say diners were very big. There was a diner across the road from our hotel that was open (it seemed) non-stop. The food was good and came with plenty of veg, but there was a lot of food. Then we went to some fine dining restaurants and the portions weren’t enormous. They were similar to what I’d expect here.

The portions in Canada were big and the meals appeared to come with less veg! About half way through our trip I was craving just a small piece of meat, no sauce and some healthy, steamed veg. I actually lost it a little in one restaurant and nicely asked for just that and the waiter was lovely and made sure that’s what I got.

janbb's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit Generally true here too that the fancier the place, the more reasonable the portion size.

ucme's avatar

Chef brings his hat for that.

Blackberry's avatar

Lol no, that’s strange.

ibstubro's avatar

In Saint Louis county it is against the law for food to re-enter the kitchen of a restaurant, i.e. no more ‘foil swan’ leftovers. I know that isn’t your question, but hear me out.

I would think that the same rule would apply to any reusable container, as well. You might take a glistening glass container, but how are the staff going to refuse the woman behind you with the warped, stained, smelly plastic box? You need to consistently control what enters a food preparation area.

What you might be able to get away with (if you’re that serious) is brand new foil containers such as you can buy at The Dollar Tree. You can buy round and square foil take-out boxes with crimp-on lids 2–3 for $1. Or foil baking (cake, etc.) pans with plastic lids for $1. Not good for microwave, but at least recyclable.

Or you might suggest the restaurant change the packaging, especially if it’s a non-chain or you spend money there frequently. You could find their Facebook page and ask about it publicly. I bet you would get a lot of support and might make a small dent in a landfill somewhere.

Pachy's avatar

Woukdnt do it any more than bring my own dishes and flatware. But to each his/her own.

CWOTUS's avatar

Oh, this sounds so As Good As It Gets -ish. Where the Jack Nicholson character takes his own plastic tableware to the diner so that he doesn’t have to deal with the restaurant’s flatware. Archie Bunker would have one word for you (and it would be apropops): “Stifle.”

ibstubro's avatar

Channeling the 70’s, @CWOTUS?

rojo's avatar

Not on my list of big concerns. I usually just go the styrofoam route.

Cupcake's avatar

I haven’t done it, but I would.

@ibstubro I wouldn’t have the wait staff take my glass container into the kitchen. I would fill my leftover dish myself.

ibstubro's avatar

I knew I was not being clear, @Cupcake. I was specifically answering @JLeslie‘s question about having the restaurant use an outside dish for _take-out food. Not leftovers, but food prepared to be taken home and eaten.

Brian1946's avatar

I don’t, but my wife usually brings plastic bags when we eat at a buffet. ;-o

ibstubro's avatar

My mom used to do that, @Brian1946. Seriously.

Buttonstc's avatar

I haven’t done it yet but have considered doing so, especially when they use those really flimsy styrofoam containers which barely close.

And it doesn’t fit properly in the plastic bag and if it goes askew even slightly, all the sauce ends up leaking out so it’s on the bottom of the bag by the time you get home.

I really really HATE that since the sauce is usually the best part of the dish, especially with Asian food.

ibstubro's avatar

Realistically, you could solve the ‘flimsy container’ problem by placing a collapsible shopping basket in your car, or, if there is room, collect a few flat boxes at the grocery and put them in your trunk. Berry flats are double-walled, very sturdy, and come in a variety of sizes.

Buttonstc's avatar

That’s a good thought but if the car seat is not absolutely flat (I know that mine aren’t ) or shifts slightly while braking it’s sauce in the bag again :(

They work fine for things like sandwiches or salads but they’re simply not designed for anything liquid.

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